Some people infected with the mumps virus have either no signs or symptoms or very mild ones. When signs and symptoms do develop, they usually appear about two to three weeks after exposure to the virus and may include:
- Swollen, painful salivary glands on one or both sides of your face (parotitis)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Pain while chewing or swallowing
The primary — and best known — sign of mumps is swollen salivary glands that cause the cheeks to puff out. In fact, the term "mumps" is an old expression for lumps or bumps within the cheeks.
When to see a doctor
If you suspect that you or your child has mumps, see your doctor. Let your doctor's office know before you go in that you suspect mumps so that you won't have to wait so long in the waiting room, possibly infecting others. Mumps has become an uncommon illness, so it's possible that the signs and symptoms are caused by another condition. Swollen salivary glands and a fever could be an indication of inflamed tonsils (tonsillitis) or a blocked salivary gland.
Other viruses can infect the parotid glands, causing a mumps-like illness.